Filmmaker Paresh Mokashi’s first three films Harishchandrachi Factory (2010), Elizabeth Ekadashi (2014) and Chi Va Chi Sau Ka (2017) were different from each other, but they were all light in nature. With Vaalvi, he has taken a giant leap into the dark comic thriller territory.
Vaalvi revolves around Aniket (Swapnil Joshi), who works on a good post in a company, and his wife Avani (Anita Date). The two decide to end their lives together due to certain circumstances by shooting themselves. Aniket’s actual plan is to kill his wife by keeping his gun unloaded and Avani’s loaded because he is in a relationship with Devika (Shivani Surve), a dentist.
Aniket and Devika carry out various rehearsals to ensure that their plan doesn’t fail. But something happens on that fateful day and a mysterious man (Subodh Bhave) enters their lives.
Among various things, the makers of Vaalvi should be lauded for presenting a trailer that gives nothing away about the main plot. The story’s major crux lies in the second half and the trailer doesn’t feature anything of this. In fact, we just get a glimpse of Subodh Bhave’s character, making us wonder if he has a special appearance. But in reality, he plays a character as important as others.
Vaalvi is a thriller that scores high in all departments. Madhugandha Kulkarni and Paresh Mokashi’s basic tale itself is not just thrilling but also hilarious. It is finely narrated by the screenplay and intelligently presented by the direction. The dialogues require special mention for being hilarious; their unexpected timing on some occasions makes them even funnier.
Stories revolving around murder tend to go at least a bit downhill in the second half but Vaalvi steers clear of that. In fact, as mentioned above, the movie ups the ante even further post-interval.
Vaalvi is a taut thriller without any songs. But its background music, by Mangesh Dhakde, plays a vital role as it adds more intrigue to the proceedings. Similarly, Satyajeet Shobha Shreeram’s camerawork and Abhijeet Deshpande and Saurabh Prabhudesai editing also adds to the plusses.
Swapnil Joshi showed a different side of himself in both the seasons of the web-series Samantar. He has again gone against his image and has come up with a fine act of a mean individual who feels nothing when it comes to hatching a plot to kill his own wife. The one-take sequence where he fears getting killed by another character by a gun deserves mention.
This is yet another fine performance by Subodh Bhave. Without going much into his character to avoid spoilers, it is safe to say that the actor has succeeded in showing his comic side with dedication while playing a serious character. Anita Date displays perfection while playing a woman diagnosed with mental illness. Shivani Surve is decent as Aniket’s love interest. Namrata Awate Sambherao has only a couple of scenes but they become memorable because of her act.
As it happens with films of this genre, Vaalvi too has quite a few creative liberties taken. The transportation of one dead body stands out amongst all. The movie would have appeared more intelligent if this was taken care of.
Overall: Vaalvi is a finely crafted dark comic thriller. After this film, Paresh Mokashi won’t be known only for Harishchandrachi Factory.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Director: Paresh Mokashi
Producers: Zee Studios and Madhugandha Kulkarni
Writers: Madhugandha Kulkarni and Paresh Mokashi
Cast: Swapnil Joshi, Subodh Bhave, Shivani Surve and Anita Date